Tesla says its insurance is now available in California

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Tesla on Wednesday said that its long-awaited insurance product for owners was available.

“Starting today, we’re launching Tesla Insurance, a competitively priced insurance offering designed to provide Tesla owners with up to 20% lower rates, and in some cases as much as 30%,” the company said in a blog post.

“Tesla Insurance offers comprehensive coverage and claims management to support our customers in California, and it will expand to additional U.S. states in the future.”

Owners can sign up in a little as one minute, the company said, using the VIN from their Tesla vehicle.

On the company’s first quarter earnings call in April, CEO Elon Musk said the company planned to launch an insurance product in ” about a month.”

“We have direct knowledge of the risk profile of customers and based on the car and then if they want to buy a Tesla insurance, they would have to agree to not drive the car in a crazy way,” he told analysts, “they can, but then their insurance rates are higher.”

Tesla owners have dealt with high insurance costs due in part to the relative difficulty of finding replacement parts and qualified body shops. AAA raised insurance rates for Tesla vehicles in 2017, though Tesla argued that AAA’s decision was “severely flawed” because it compared Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV against dissimilar competitors.

Tesla’s have long been a question mark for insurance companies,Business Insider Intelligence analysts say, due to their built-in sensors and Autopilot software. In 2017, AAA said that Tesla owners should pay more than traditional vehicles due to “abnormally high claim frequencies,” Automotive News reported in 2017.

Tesla owners can still insure their vehicles through third-party insurance, Tesla said, noting that :we believe Tesla Insurance provides a compelling offer for new and existing owners.” The product cannot be used for commercial services like ride-hailing, and call into question the company’s planned launch of a robo-taxi network as soon as next year.

Mark Matousek contributed to this report.

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